Our first grade teacher would ask us to read aloud from Dick and Jane. Dick and Jane were awful boring white kids. Their father wore a suit. What bullshit. They also had a dog named Spot. I didn’t know where the hell these kids lived, but they sure didn’t live where I did. My parents gave me a dog; but it became a chicken killer and somebody killed it with a shot gun. “See Spot run. Shoot Spot in the ass.”
The teacher would read, “See Spot Run!” and we would say it back. Then she would ask one of us to say it back; if you didn’t say it back correctly, she would whack you on the hand with her yardstick.
We had a dunce chair. The kid who couldn’t get anything right would be stuck up there on the dunce chair.
“See Dick on the dunce chair. Dick is an idiot boy.”
But we didn’t have a dunce cap. When the dunce chair was occupied, the teacher would put kids in the two closets in the back. They had to stand there and face the wall; the teacher kept the doors open so she could see what they were up to. When she ran out of closet she would use the wall. Kids would just line up and face the wall.
Late one afternoon, I looked around and saw I was the only person still in my seat except for one girl across the room. The room was stone cold silent; I couldn’t even hear the kids breathing. I felt a bit dizzy sitting there alone and exposed. My I had a brain and paid attention. I remember getting whacked only once. “Hold out your hand.” She was a pretty good whacker. It stung.
“See Dick get whacked! See Dick cry like a baby.”